Tampa Bay Rays Cut Ties with Desmond Jennings


Currently on the disabled list for the second time this season and the sixth time in six years, the Tampa Bay Rays have finally decided to release outfielder Desmond Jennings.

Considered the Tampa Bay Rays fifth best prospect heading into the 2009 season and ranked among the top 20 prospects in baseball entering the 2010 season Jennings just never lived up to the billing.

Each spring would come and he would tear the cover off the ball, heads would turn with all everyone saying this could be the year that Jennings would finally show the potential that the scouts had talked about.

For whatever its worth, as a fan watching Jennings he had been given opportunity after opportunity, year after year but he just never embraced the chance or showed the willingness.

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Case in point was earlier this season when Jennings had the opportunity because of the injuries to Kevin Kiermaier, Brandon Guyer and Steven Souza Jr.

However, he failed not only offensively, but defensively as well.

His defensive aloofness was so prevalent in a game against the Minnesota Twins that Tampa Bay Rays television analyst Brian Anderson called him out for his poor and uninspired play during an interview on WDAE-620 AM.

Going one step further, Jennings would hardly talk to the local media – good or bad times.

Here’s another from last night.  When reached by the Tampa Bay Times on Friday night, Jennings asked, “Why are you calling me?” After a brief explanation, he replied twice, “I don’t have anything to say.”

Since from 2014-2016 due to sitting out the final month of 2014 with a knee injury, playing in 28 games in 2015 because of knee and tooth surgeries his playing time was limited.

Jennings has managed to play in just 216 out 396 games, during this time he hit .236 with 18-HR, 63- RBI, 29-2B, 4-3B and 22-SB.

This season has been no different as he’s been on the disabled list twice. Once for hamstring and the other for his knees.

He is currently on the 15-day DL with a bruised left knee and though he was eligible to return after the All-Star break, there has been no progress and no return date.

"“It’s frustrating to Desmond and to us,” Ray’s baseball operations President Matt Silverman said. “When healthy, he can impact the game in so many ways. But going back a couple of years, he just hasn’t been able to stay on the field for long stretches of time.”"

In 65-games this season Jennings was batting .200 with seven home runs and 20 RBIs and in his seven year career, all with the Tampa Bay Rays batted .245 with 55 home runs, 191 RBIs, 95 SB.

For a brief period in time Jennings played good baseball for the Tampa Bay Rays.

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When he was good, he was, though not often especially in recent times.

He was athletic, he had speed, he showed power, however the tools that he possessed never really shined and when they did it was short lived.

The Tampa Bay Rays stuck with Jennings longer than they should have.

They most likely held onto him because they hoped that the player they drafted in 2006, the one with so much potential would finally show up.

However, the time finally came to cut ties.

With the final weeks of this season upon us, not having to give Jennings the at-bats will allow the Tampa Bay Rays to take a closer look at some of the minor leaguers they’ll call up.

"“It was time,” manager Kevin Cash said. “Best for him, best for us going forward.”“It’s unfortunate it didn’t work out,” Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “We couldn’t quite get him on the field as much as we would have liked. We had to make a decision.”"

Jennings, who was in his second season of arbitration and earned a salary of $3.3 million.

If he is claimed and returns to the majors this year, the Tampa Bay Rays will remain on the hook for the remainder of that, less a pro-rated portion of the league minimum salary.

Next: Tampa Bay Rays: Cobb Set to Return Next Weekend

Having the Tampa Bay Rays release Jennings could be just what the doctor ordered – maybe a change in scenery will do him wonders… Maybe Not!